Lois Lerner’s Office Created IRS Tea Party Bottleneck


All along the story has been that the Tea Party targeting was routine, unplanned and local. Now yet more evidence arrives to show that it was

1. Centrally planned

2. Based out of D.C.

3. Unprecedented

Here are the Key points from testimony today by career IRS officials:

Carter Hull, a tax law specialist and self-described 501(c)(4) expert with 48 years of experience, testified that he sent development letters, and once he received responses, based on his decades of experience,  determined he had enough facts to make recommendations whether to approve or deny the applications.

Mr. Hull’s recommendations were not carried out.  Instead, according Michael Seto, the head of Mr. Hull’s unit in Washington D.C., Lois Lerner instructed that the Tea Party applications should go through a multi-layer review that included her senior advisor and the Chief Counsel’s office.
According to Mr. Hull, sometime in the winter of 2010-2011, the senior advisor to Lois Lerner told him the IRS Chief Counsel’s office would need to review these applications.  Mr. Hull also indicated this was the first time in his 48 year career at the IRS he was told to send an application to Ms. Lerner’s senior advisor.

That’s quite a first. The first time an IRS employee with 48 years of experiences sees this kind of intervention, it just happens to be targeting a populist opposition movement around election time.

It was not until August 2011 that the Chief Counsel’s office held a meeting with Mr. Hull, Ms. Lerner’s senior advisor, and other Washington D.C. officials to discuss these test applications.  During the intervening months, these applications languished.

The Chief Counsel’s office instructed Mr. Hull that they needed updated information to evaluate the applications.  Since the applications were up-to-date months earlier, when Mr. Hull made his recommendations, Mr. Hull testified that he found this request from the Chief Counsel’s office surprising.  The Chief Counsel’s office also discussed the possibility of a template letter to develop all the Tea Party applications, including those being held in Cincinnati.  Mr. Hull explained that all the applications were different and that a template was impractical.
Mr. Hull’s supervisor, Ronald Shoemaker, provided insight on the type of additional information sought by the Chief Counsel’s office—namely, information about the applicants’ political activities leading up to the 2010 election.

The lengthy review of the test applications in Washington created a bottleneck and caused the delay of other Tea Party applications in Cincinnati.  Indeed, multiple IRS employees in Cincinnati – including Elizabeth Hofacre — have told the Committee they were waiting on guidance from Washington on how to move the applications forward.

Mr. Hull explained that he could not provide advice to Ms. Hofacre because his hands were tied by his superiors in Washington.  Therefore, none of these applications were approved or denied during the time he worked with Ms. Hofacre on the cases.

The head of the Cincinnati office, Cindy Thomas, testified that she continuously asked senior Washington officials when guidance was coming, but it was to no avail.

The one thing that government bureaucrats are good at is stalling tactics. If you can’t stop something, you just tie it down in red tape until it goes away.

  • ElizabethMC

    axelrod and other dems insisted that they weren’t afraid of conservative groups and denied anything to do with keeping them from getting tax exempt status?
    They must have forgotten that it was conservative / tea party groups that helped republicans win the house and gain senate seats in the 2010 election.
    They were plenty afraid that conservative groups would have the same success in 2012 and they resorted to dirty tricks to neutralize them.
    They can’t win if they play fair and they know it.

  • Profit

    Slowly peeling away the layers.

    Mr. Obama, how many licks does it take to get to the tootsie roll center of the tootsie pop?

  • objectivefactsmatter

    Sure, no scandal here.

  • onecornpone

    Federal bureaucrats sand-bagging to slow a popular political movement that swept the DC Elite Ruling Class (both sides of the aisle) into a state of trembling, teeth-chattering fear is now being exposed as purely political dirty tricks…

    And what will be done to whom for the crimes committed, for the 2012 elections that were lost, for the candidates that found themselves mysteriously without sufficient funding, after such wild enthusiasm of WE the People in 2010?

    There is an answer – but there are so many who have a vested interest it can never happen unless there is a grass roots movement. GET lawyers out of politics!

    By nature of their training lawyers are rule-benders, opportunity seekers who have been schooled to see value in every side of an argument, Until the taxpaying public grasps the true origins of all this outrageous political wrangling that threatens our individual liberty, our representative republic will continue to self destruct.

  • Richard Allen

    I have followed this fascinating (horrible, but playing out like a blockbuster movie) case. My understanding of the facts are that the non-routine treatment began once the selected 501(c)(4) application cases (a mix of conservative/Tea Party orgs. AND non-Conservative/Progressive orgs.) were sent up to legal counsel in Washington for review/legal advice by the Cincinnati intake unit. The TIGTA audit report and the testimony of the locals confirms this as does Mr. Hull. Ms. Lerner and someone from Counsel decided to give the applications non-routine extreme/extensive review, information requests, outrageous delays, etc. We are getting nearer to the who, when, why of this decision. Head of IRS Counsel Mr. Wilkins has so far not been identified as a party to any conference calls, meetings, memos, etc. where he gave orders to target. Concluding that he did is very premature and not supported by any evidence, so far. Talk radio truth-bender Jeff Kuehner stated on his a.m. radio show this morning that Wilkins was stated by Mr. Hull to have been “on a conference call with Hull and Lois Lerner, where they ordered Hull to target the conservative group applicants.” There is no evidence/testimony, so far, that Mr. Hull said that. Knowing large beaurocracies like I do, I bet Lerner had one of the Counsel staff attorneys on the phone, and if they cooked up some targeting scheme, Mr. Wilkins would not have known about it unless he was specifically informed after the targeting began. So far, without evidence of an order from Wilkins to an attorney 4 – 5 levels beneath him, and then, without evidence of orders from the White House to Wilkins, there is no smoking gun impicating the White House. It could be that it was at Lerner’s level that the scheme started…we can suspect, but suspecting is not knowing. To impeach Obama, which is what talk radio host Jeff Keuhner called for…we need more evidence (and less projecting prematurely) and if that evidence is found, then we should pursue the wrongdoers to the fullest extent of the law! This goes equally for the other news report that the Benghazi victims that survived were told not to talk, again, not proven yet, but alleged by Kuehner on orders to the White House. If that is true, shame on them and let the justice system deal with the wrongdoers, Obama and anyone else…

  • Richard Poor

    I believe Lois Lerner belongs behind bars. How dare she use the IRS as a weapon. Everything I’ve read about her portrayed her as a despicable, self-righteous, bully.